By CHARLES OWENS

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — Most counties across the region reported an increase in COVID-19 cases Friday, including big jumps in Tazewell and McDowell counties.

Tazewell County reported 10 new virus cases Friday, bringing its cumulative total of infections to date to 116. That’s up from 106 cases on Thursday. Eight people also have been hospitalized in Tazewell County over the past three weeks as a result of the virus.

McDowell County reported 12 new virus cases Friday, bringing its cumulative total to date to 64. That’s up from 52 cases on Thursday. The McDowell County Health Department said 51 of those cases are now considered active and involve individuals who are in quarantine. Another 13 people have recovered from the virus.

In a statement, the health department said all 12 cases are the result of community spread of the virus. The statement said contact tracing is underway in all seven cases.

Mercer County, a COVID-19 hot spot, reported three new virus cases Friday morning, bringing it’s cumulative total of COVID-19 infections to date to 177 with four virus-related deaths. That’s up from 174 cases on Thursday. According to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, 135 of those cases are considered active. The DHHR said another 39 people in Mercer County have recovered from the virus.

Matthew Bragg, sanitarian for the Mercer County Health Department, said all three of the new cases Friday were the result of community spread of the virus. He said contact tracing is underway in all three cases.

Rural Bland County also also saw a jump in COVID-19 cases overnight. Bland County’s cumulative total of virus cases increased from eight on Thursday to 11 on Friday.

Buchanan County reported four new virus cases bringing its cumulative total to date to 78, which is up from 74 on Thursday, with two hospitalizations.

Giles County is still holding at 23 cases with two recent hospitalizations.

Health officials in Virginia are still not releasing data on the number of recovered and active cases. Instead, the state provides only a cumulative total of virus cases per county.

Robert Parker, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Health, said the numbers released Friday for the Virginia-side counties reflected an increase in cases because of a data backlog from earlier in the week.

“Today’s data will indicate 2,015 new cases,” Parker said. “This figure includes information that should have been reported on Wednesday and Thursday of this week as well as the regular numbers for Friday.”

Parker said the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Information Management, which helps manage VDH’s COVID-19 databases, identified and rectified the technical issue, which was a system performance configuration.

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

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